An audio baby monitor is a mini radio station. It is a radio transmitter on a fixed frequency used to send sound from the transmitter in the nursery to a stationary or wireless receiver. Both the transmitter and receiver should have volume control so you can adjust the volume as needed. Some baby monitors come with two receivers so both parents can listen to their baby from different rooms in the house at the same time.
Audio baby monitors with an intercom button allow you to soothe or entertain your baby while you are en-route to the nursery. Other audio monitors have a movement and breathing sensory pad that you place under the crib mattress. Sensory pads alert you when your baby's movements or breathing stop for more than 20 seconds.
Many parents find movement and breathing sensors especially reassuring, but they are not medical monitoring devices and cannot be treated as such. A movement and breathing sensory pad may offer a sense of protection against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but you cannot rely on them to prevent SIDS, the cause of which is still unknown.
Many baby monitors have low battery indicator lights and sound-activated lights. Low battery indicator lights on both the transmitter and receiver light up when the batteries are low, alerting you to change the batteries.
An audio baby monitor that includes sound-activated lights will light up when it detects noise. If you are playing with another child or watching television, you may not hear the whimpers or cries of your baby. Sound-activated lights allow you to glance at the monitor when you can't hear the monitor and know instantly if your baby is crying.
Most audio monitors transmit on a 49 MHz frequency. This can lead to interference from other radio operating devices, such as cell phones, older cordless phones, or other baby monitors in your neighborhood that run on the same frequency. The better 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz baby monitors are less likely to experience interference, offering the widest frequency range and the best clarity.
Most new cordless phones are either 900 MHZ or 2.4 GHz also. Choose a baby monitor that runs on a different frequency from your cordless phone. If you have a 900 MHz cordless phone and a 900 MHz baby monitor, you could find yourself listening to a very private fight between the new parents two doors down and not know where it is coming from.
Even the simplest radio scanner will pick up the frequency of a baby monitor in a house not covered with aluminum siding, To prevent others from hearing what is happening inside your house, simply turn the monitor off unless it is monitoring your baby. Don't have personal conversations while the audio baby monitor is on; you never know who may be listening.
- I received an older version of the EvenFlo Whisper 49 MHz Connect Monitor baby monitor as a shower gift. It worked quite well. I could always hear my daughter clearly, but it was also equipped with sound activated lights so I could always see if my daughter was crying. I lived in an apartment when my daughter was an infant, so I didn't need to use the monitor very often. I did plug it in when I had company or when watching the television and I always heard my daughter instantly. My batteries were not rechargeable, but it was never an issue – the portable receiver didn't use much power. I may have changed the batteries once in a year and half – an inexpensive accessory to aid my peace of mind.